This is from Manila Bulletin as reported by Ariel AvendaÃ±o:
Central Luzon Environment and Natural Resources Director Regidor de Leon announced the other day that logging operations in this province will be totally stopped in the next five years.
DINGALAN, Aurora â€“ Central Luzon Environment and Natural Resources Director Regidor de Leon announced the other day that logging operations in this province will be totally stopped in the next five years.
The log ban is aimed at protecting and preserving the forest cover of Aurora, De Leon said, noting that Aurora has the biggest vegetation in the entire country in terms of natural forest. Its forest cover stands at 75 percent despite having at least five logging firms currently operating in the province.
De Leon, assisted by Region 3 Environment Technical Director Benjamin MiÃ±a, provincial environment chief Jerry Casala, district environment chief for Baler, and Ma. Aurora Meliton Vicente, district environment chief for Dingalan and San Luis, conducted a site inspection here of the 1.8-hectare forest park where decade-old trees now stand.
The once-denuded area was to different tree species in 1997.
Noting the transformation into a forest sanctuary of the once barren, neglected zone, De Leon said that the plan for the log ban was proposed after a recent dialogue with Senator Edgardo Angara.
While there are at least five firms permitted by the national government to engage in logging activities under integrated forest management agreement (IFMA) — some of which with extended permits to expire until 2025 — De Leon said that there is a need for a total ban on commercial logging operations in Aurora for the protection and conservation of its natural resources.
The official said Senator Angara had agreed that there will be proper orientation and preparation for the people who are dependent on the logging industry before the total log ban is imposed on the province.
Devastated by a series of typhoons in November 2004, President suspended all logging operations in the entire country, but this was eventually lifted after more than a year because of the big contribution of the logging industry to the efforts to perk up the economy.
“Thatâ€™s why we will be crafting a five-year timeline as a period of adjustment in preparation for the total phaseout of logging operations in Aurora,” De Leon said.
With the log ban, the DENR official said, the local government can focus on ecotourism, citing the numerous potential tourist spots and destinations in Aurora.
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